The 400 Tavern

Old signs. At some point, many points in the past, people stood smoking underneath this sign. Watching women walk. Women practicing walking. Musicians coming from somewhere just to play here. Around the corner at St. Nick’s place – what it must have been like. I’ve given up on time machines for the most part, but those old signs, they do something. The rust and fallen off letters of the word TAVERN show neglect that’s a crime, but the sign itself endures. What about the sign maker? The man who actually crafted the design of the place? That would be an interesting job for a character.

Imagine the old man coming back to the spot where he put the sign up. The club gone – the people in the club long gone. Performers are now just echoes but the man who made the sign, it’s his legacy that endures. Perhaps he goes back to show his grandchildren what he built or perhaps it’s just that his signs are his children. Is he full of regret? What is there if nobody to share his accomplishments with?

I lived across the hall from a man in Hollywood who made furniture for so man different places in the old style that was Hollywood. At that time, when I met him, he was just living so he could walk down the street and get himself a chili burger and fries, but in his prime, which he showed me in his old photograph book, he made amazing pieces of furniture that most people must have sat in by now.

“Wasn’t worth a damn,” he told me. “The women either. Now I just have these old photo books and nobody to look at them with. Nobody but you, but that’s not much. No disrespect.”

So now, let’s just play that conversation into the signs. I think that would work well in a city that is under construction, someone walking around taking pictures of things they built so it could live on in their memory.


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